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Stories by Robert Lemos

Intellectual goods increasingly targeted

Attackers are increasingly focusing on stealing intellectual property from companies and governments, but details of the losses continue to be scarce, concludes a survey of experts released by two security companies.
The report - conducted by security firm McAfee, now part of Intel, and technology giant SAIC - found that companies worry so much about the reputational damage caused by a data breach that they tend to keep leaks of proprietary information a secret. Only one in four companies perform a forensics investigation following a breach, despite the fact that analysts have estimated that proprietary business information is twice as valuable as the custodial customer data that companies store.
The result is that companies are poorly prepared to deal with the perceived shift in cybercrime, the report argues.

Written by Robert Lemos28 March 11 23:00

When clouds attack

Criminals intent on attacking others can lease networks of compromised computers, or botnets, from other criminals serving the underground community. These resources could be considered "clouds" in their own right, but researchers warn that operators of legitimate clouds need to worry about being used for illicit attacks as well.
In a presentation at the DEFCON hacking conference in August, two researchers did just that. David Bryan of Trustwave and Michael Anderson of NetSPI created a handful of virtual servers to attack a small financial company - a client that wanted to test its security against just such an attack. Rather than renting a botnet from criminals, the researchers used Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) to rent less than a dozen virtual servers to overwhelm the target's network with traffic.

Written by Robert Lemos08 Sept. 10 22:00

An IT merger’s ticket to success

When lifestyle media company Scripps Networks acquired the Travel Channel in late 2009, its IT group had to deal with managing another network without an increase in staff.
The merger went fairly smoothly, Scripps IT leaders say, in large part because Scripps Networks - which also owns the Food Channel, HGTV and the DIY Network - had incorporated business service management (BSM) into its own operations. The company could automatically provision new systems and change policies. And failures and misconfigurations were detected before they cascaded into more serious outages.

Written by Robert Lemos19 May 10 22:00

Datacentre hiring turns a corner

Driven to austerity in an economy that only recently appears ready to expand again, companies will likely hire slightly more datacentre workers this year, according to experts.
Yet, would-be staff will find themselves buffeted by two opposing forces in their new roles: Management pressure to keep budgets low and a growing need for workers who can navigate the confluence of technologies flowing into the datacenter. Corporations adopting new technologies - such as virtualisation, data protection, identity systems and cloud computing -- are requiring different skills of job seekers, say experts.

Written by Robert Lemos04 May 10 22:00

Growing up with cloud infrastructure

Some large enterprises have moved their information-technology infrastructure to a third-party managed service to save costs, small firms - especially startups - have come to rely on cloud services to cut initial outlays and help them focus on the core services and products.
Infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, such as Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2), typically are used by larger enterprises to give research-and development groups flexibility in resources. For startups, eliminating the large capital expenditure of a data centre at the outset has allowed many to reduce seed money and keep their burn rates that much lower, says Oliver Friedrichs, CEO of antivirus firm Immunet, which launched its first product last August.

Written by Robert Lemos18 April 10 22:00

Datacentre lessons from the online gaming world

In June, Iceland-based CCP Games brought the hammer down on a group of resource hogs that were clogging its data center.
In an operation dubbed internally "Unholy Rage," the company cut off 2 percent of its subscribers - real customers who had paid to play CCP's massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), known as EVE Online. The small group of players was using software to essentially cheat at the game, automating the collection of resources and the completion of quests to generate gold. These so-called real-money traders would then sell the gold for real-world cash.

Written by Robert Lemos23 Nov. 09 22:00

Five lessons from Microsoft on cloud security

While Google, Amazon and Salesforce have gotten the most attention as cloud service providers, Microsoft-with its 300 products and services delivered from its data centers-has a large cloud bank all its own.

Written by Robert Lemos26 Aug. 09 05:00

The dark side of cloud computing

While many companies are considering moving applications to the cloud, the security of the third-party services still leaves much to be desired, security experts warned attendees at last week's Black Hat Security Conference.
The current economic downturn has made cloud computing a hot issue, with startups and smaller firms rushing to save money using virtual machines on the Internet and larger firms pushing applications such as customer relationship management to the likes of Salesforce.com. Yet, companies need to be more wary of the security pitfalls in moving their infrastructure to the cloud, experts say.

Written by Robert Lemos09 Aug. 09 22:00

Lessons for consolidating datacentres at merger time

Three healthcare organisations in Hawaii looked at banding together in 2001 to cut administrative costs and deliver care more cheaply. Merging the constituent four hospitals, 18 clinics and three datacentres, however, did not go smoothly, at least at first.
The new organisation, Hawaii Pacific Health, failed to save money and actually increased the costs of insurance reimbursements, because each of the three healthcare groups continued to handle their information in their own way, says Steve Robertson, executive vice president and CIO for Hawaii Pacific Health.

Written by Robert Lemos26 July 09 22:00

Hosting firms have new answer to 'I want my own server'

Virtualization is great and all, but sometimes a customer just wants their own server. For many companies, however, off-the-shelf servers are too big, too powerful and too hot-making the typical data-center fare too costly.

Written by Robert Lemos25 June 09 05:06

Researchers speed up the chase for cooler data centres

With energy costs rising and data centres at the core of IT strategy for many companies, cooling the growing number of computers jammed into data centres is an issue that has taken centre stage.
Some innovative university researchers are focusing on cutting the cost of cooling the hot racks of servers in data centres. Last month, Syracuse University teamed with IBM to create one of the world's most efficient data centres on the school's campus, while the Georgia Institute of Technology announced last week that its faculty had created a 1,100-square-foot testing facility where researchers can test new cooling designs and measure the impact that the designs have on power efficiency.

Written by Robert Lemos17 June 09 22:00

Casino giant doubles down on datacentre automation

Who's gambling on big technology investments in this down economy? At first glance, you might not guess that it would be the Las Vegas Sands Company, the owner of the Venetian and Palazzo Resorts in Las Vegas and the Sands Macau in China.
The company recapitalised last November to the tune of US$2.1 billion and suffered a public falling-out between its chairman and top executive earlier this year, leading to a new president being named. Yet, as LV Sands shored up its finances and brought in new leadership, it forged forward with bold plans to expand globally. In late May, LV Sands opened its first casino in Bethlehem, Penn., handling more than $60 million during the Memorial Day weekend, of which nearly $6 million was gross profit. By the end of the year, the company, which earned $4.4 billion last year, aims to open a "megacasino" in Singapore.

Written by Robert Lemos03 June 09 22:00

Leopard one year later

When Apple released Mac OS X 10.5, frequently referred to by its code name "Leopard," the company immediately had to deal with scattered technical problems.
Among the widest reported was the "Blue Screen of Death," where the Mac froze during the installation process on the blue startup screen. The issues led one consultant to blog "it's a dark day in Apple land when the least positive attributes of Windows start showing up in their beloved BSD-based OS."

Written by Robert Lemos05 Nov. 08 22:00

Losing the fear factor around open source ERP

Can open source software find a home in mission critical systems? Based on momentum in the open source ERP market, it's starting to look that way, particularly for IT leaders at midmarket and smaller enterprises.

Written by Robert Lemos23 April 08 22:00